Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $1.2 Million For Rome Griffiss International Airport Via The Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law To Modernize & Rehabilitate The Airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower

Mar 20, 2024

Schumer, Gillibrand: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law $$$ Are Improving Safety And Helping Critical Upgrades For Griffiss International Airport Take Off

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded Rome Griffiss International Airport a total of $1,200,000 in competitive federal funding from the Contract Tower Competitive Grant Program, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Law. The senators said the funding will rehabilitate the airport’s 40-year-old Airport Traffic Control Tower, including replacing the roof, lighting, flooring, aged communication and recording equipment, as well as renovations, improving the electrical and security systems, and repairing windows.

“I am proud to deliver this $1.2 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law I championed, which will allow Rome Griffiss International Airport to takeoff on much needed upgrades to its over 40-year-old Control Tower, boosting safety for our passengers and ensuring top notch facilities for our hardworking technicians and controllers,” said Senator Schumer. “When I became majority leader, I promised to help land federal funding for airports, like Rome’s, so they could make the long overdue upgrades they needed. With this funding, we are making sure Griffiss International Airport has all modern facilities and the up-to-date equipment needed to keep operations running smoothly and safely so the Mohawk Valley can reach new heights.”

“Griffiss International Airport contributes tens of millions of dollars annually to New York’s economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This $1.2 million in federal funding will help bring much-needed upgrades to the 40-year-old control tower at Griffiss International Airport to improve the safety and reliability of the airport. I am proud to have worked to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to secure this funding and will continue fighting to bring vital modernization and improvements to airports across New York State.”

“Oneida County is grateful to have received $1.2 million to rehab the Airport Traffic Control Tower at Griffiss International Airport,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “This funding will allow us to make much-needed renovations to this 40-year-old structure and improve the service we provide to aircraft. We thank the FAA for this grant and applaud Senator Schumer for delivering these funds and for his tireless efforts to support Oneida County.”

Schumer and Gillibrand explained the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law provided the FAA $20 million annually through the Contract Tower Competitive Grant Program to modernize air traffic control towers. These funds will allow airports to sustain, construct, repair, improve, rehabilitate, modernize, replace, or relocate non-approach control towers; acquire and install air traffic control, communications, and related equipment to be used in those towers.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg supporting the grant appears below:

Dear Secretary Buttigieg:

I am pleased to write in support of the grant application submitted by Griffiss International Airport (Griffiss) to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration Airport Terminal and Tower Grant program. Griffiss is requesting $1,400,000 to modernize their Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), which was originally built in the 1970s when the airport operated as a military airfield and is in need of repairs and improvements to ensure safe service for the flying public. Moreover, as the only federally recognized UAS test facility with an Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), timely renovation of the Griffiss ATCT is of paramount importance to our national security and international UAS leadership.

With funding, Griffiss will modernize their ATCT to ensure functional equipment, a suitable workspace, operational sustainability, and compliance with current FAA regulations. Specifically, project funding will be used to replace non-functional and aging communication and recording equipment with state-of-the-art communication panels, recording systems, automated backup radios, and more. Additionally, the project will restore the aged and near compromised ATCT shell and enhance ATCT energy efficiency by restoring and improving critical infrastructure, including window repairs and shades to reduce thermal heat transfer, LED lighting, plumbing fixtures utilizing less water, and a white roof to reflect heat and reduce HVAC loads. The design and construction phase will create several good-paying jobs in the short-term, including up to four technical professionals and twelve construction tradespeople over one year.

As both a key regional transportation asset and national trailblazer in unmanned aerial transportation, Griffiss is vital to the long-term growth and success of the Mohawk Valley and the United States. As such, it is of the upmost importance that the Department of Transportation support Griffiss by funding their ATCT modernization project. I applaud Griffiss for its foresight and sincerely hope the application is met with your approval. Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my grants coordinator in our Washington DC office at (202) 224-6542.